Tohono O’odham Casino Near Glendale Opens Amid Ongoing Litigation

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 7:24pm
Updated: Monday, December 21, 2015 - 10:13am
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(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
A patron presses play on a Class II gambling machine at the new West Valley casino.

Hundreds of people lined the sidewalk for the opening of the Desert Diamond West Valley casino near Glendale Sunday.

Workers and members of the Tohono O’odham tribe stood at the entrance to the West Valley’s newest casino, greeting guests coming in.

One guest, Glendale-resident Peggy Jones, said she couldn’t be happier about having a casino in the West Valley.

"We don’t have things like this. It’s good for our economy, it’s good for the jobs," Jones said. "We’ve been needing this. We don’t need to drive miles for entertainment, we want it right here.” 

Capacity for the building was at 3,400, and one Phoenix-resident, Marcia Kennedy, had been waiting for over two and half hours.

She said she’s glad the casino opened, even with the litigation surrounding it.

“I think it’s great that they won," Kennedy said. "I’m glad because the other casinos, it gives them some competition so that maybe they’ll straighten up a little bit and start paying a little better."

Chairman of the Tohono O’odham nation Edward Manuel said the grand opening has been a long time coming.

“We had a lot of setbacks, a lot of challenges and a lot of resistance from different people but we finally got here, we finally got to open,” Manuel said.

The tribe’s plan is to eventually build a $200 million resort and switch to a Class III gaming facility.

The state has opposed Class III gaming and the tribe must settle that issue with state regulators before it can move forward with its gaming plans.

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